Archived Story

Rice pudding and the right place and time to help

Published 10:49am Friday, August 16, 2013

We munched contentedly, looking out from the best seats in the house, remarking over the reflection of the mountains in the water and the funny, floating, row of a mother goose and her fuzzy goslings. I saw my own mother eyeing the banana pudding and laying the other half of her sandwich in her lap.

“Saving room?” I teased. “You want me to wrap up the rest?”

“Yes,” she replied. “I don’t think I can finish it. I’m rather full.”

But let me tell you, after a couple of strawberries, she dove into her pudding and it was gone by the time I had re-wrapped the ham salad.

The loathsome rice pudding remained ignored, unopened, and shoved back into the tote.

As we leisurely made our way back home, I stopped for gas and took note of a thin and dejected looking man sitting on an outside bench.

His hands and arms and hair were dirty, his T-shirt dank and sweat stained. I left the gas nozzle inside the car and, pulling the tote out of the back seat, strolled over to him and said, “Hey, do you like ham salad?”

His eyes lit up and he nodded.

“Great,” I replied and handed the other half of the sandwich to him. “My mom only wanted part of it and I hate throwing away food if somebody wants it.”

Before I had even turned around to make my way back to the car, he had hunched over, wolfing it down.

“I think God put us right here, at this exact moment, to provide for that man.” I said to Mom, after replacing the gas nozzle to the pump and sliding into the driver’s seat. “He looked so hopeless and he was obviously very hungry.”

“Yes.” she nodded.

“And actually…” I said, realizing I had more to give, and popped back out of the car with the tote and approached him for a final time. “I’ve got some rice pudding here, too,” I offered, pulling out the untouched tub.

His stomach considered and then his brow telegraphed his reply.

“Nah, “ he said, “hate the stuff.”

It still sits in the fridge at my house. Paul won’t touch it, either.

But I still believe my mother and I were purposely led to feed that man that day.

Although it’s pretty rare for God to get the dessert wrong, I should think.

Editor's Picks

Editorial: Divisive prayer alienated citizens

Everyone deserves the right to free speech. Few will argue this point more staunchly than those who work in the newspaper industry.  Even we have ... Read more  | 2 comments

Bathanti will judge Lanier Library’s poetry competition

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will judge for this year’s Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. Bathanti is the author of eight books of poetry as ... Read more

Mask, mime, music at Super Saturday

The world-famous Gateway Productions from Atlanta will thrill audiences March 15 This concert of Gateway’s signature solo and duo performance pieces has delighted audiences of ... Read more  | 1 comment